It is said that the best way to fight fire is, well, fire. And NBC News journalist David Gregory has unleashed a firestorm following his appearance Sunday on Meet The Press, where the newsman brought an empty high-capacity ammunition magazine to use while discussing gun safety with National Rifle Association (NRA) CEO Wayne LaPierre in the wake of the Sandy Hook elementary school killings, where the gunman used such a magazine to attack. Since the appearance, speculation is growing over whether or not Gregory will be arrested for his actions (it is being reported that DC police said just the display of a gun magazine of that nature—even when empty, as it was—is illegal in DC), or if his flaunting of the law was a necessary evil to emphasize the importance of stricter gun control across the country.
No surprise to anyone, the media has erupted with opinions and solutions on the matter: ranging from a call to have Gregory arrested, to gun enthusiasts proclaiming his actions proof of the bias against the country's second amendment rights. Others still believe that Gregory was doing a service—and freedom of the press is one of our certain inalienable rights as a nation—to bring attention to the severity of the crimes committed at Sandy Hook. TMZ has reason to believe that NBC News got approval from government authorities at the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Politico is reporting that DC area police first denied Gregory's request to display the ammunition.
For most journalists, the conflicting information and subsequent media blitz brought quite a few opinions to the forefront of discussion. "If only David Gregory hadn't watched so many Hollywood movies where news anchors confronted guests with facts and evidence..." tweeted writer Ana Marie Cox. And she wasn't alone in her opinions, either.
Fox News (yes, even Fox News joined the hunt for journalistic integrity) anchor Greta Van Susteren took to her blog to discuss the ramifications on our police force to investigate the matter, explaining "I don’t know if NBC’s David Gregory violated the law or not by showing what appeared to be a 30 round magazine during Meet the Press last Sunday….but is it really worth the time to investigate him? How much time and money is going to be spent (wasted) investigating him? Can you think of a sillier use of investigative resources?"
Madder still was The Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg, who tweeted "Excellent use of DC police resources, investigating Meet the Press for committing an act of journalism." Seems as though journalists on both sides of the political spectrum are calling into question the necessity of such an investigation. Though there are still folks outside of the media fold that believe this proves the silliness of gun control activists. Mediaite reports that in an interview with CNN, NRA President David Keene explained it thusly: "I really think what David Gregory did, while he was inadvertently flouting the law, was illustrate in a graphic way … just how silly some of these laws are."
In the end, the hullabaloo will die down and Gregory either will or will not be charged for what may or may not have been a breaking of the law, but the question remains: is it worth it? Is it warranted? And in the end, will a bigger discussion of gun control on the US come from Sandy Hook tragedy, or will this country continue to sit and bicker rather than achieve real, effective change when it comes to protecting children from firearms?
[Photo Credit: NBC]
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